Long before Las Vegas became home to glitzy gambling joints and a steady stream of tourists, it was a tiny desert outpost. The city’s celebration of those Wild West roots returns to downtown this weekend.
Saturday’s 2017 Helldorado Days Parade steps off at 10 a.m., and will follow a roughly mile-long route between Gass and Stewart avenues.
Esther Reincke, the city’s special events coordinator, called Helldorado Days Las Vegas’ true community event.
“Because it’s so transient here, it’s hard to keep that education going,” said Reincke, who has organized the parade since 2005.
The Las Vegas Elks’ Helldorado Days has roots that go back to the 1930s. The event took a hiatus in the late 1990s until 2005, when then-mayor Oscar Goodman pushed for its return in the city’s centennial year.
One of the features in this year’s fete is the “5/15 Club,” or a group that shares the city of Las Vegas’ May 15 birthday.
Resurrecting the 5/15 club came late in the planning process this year, but Reincke would like to grow that in the future, because many people with May 15 birthdays were part of the parade in 2005, she said.
The parade has 88 entries, and is free to the public.
Beyond the parade
A variety of other events are part of the Las Vegas Helldorado Days Festival, which runs through Sunday, including the rodeo and PBR Last Cowboy Standing competitions, a brewfest and the Whiskerino contest, celebrating elaborate facial hair.
Festival events are within the Las Vegas Village, the outdoor venue across Las Vegas Boulevard South from the Luxor Hotel & Casino.
The paved venue will enhance the fans’ experience while at the festival, rodeo and PBR Last Cowboy Standing, promoters said. Fans can park and ride a shuttle from various hotel partners throughout the Las Vegas Valley to the Las Vegas Village.
Contact Jamie Munks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.